‘The Imam [or priest] fainted’ is the literal translation of the name for this Turkish dish of cold tomato-stuffed aubergine. It is odd how many cultures have dishes called things to do with clerics and their fondness for the table. The Italians, for example, have a dish of spinach and ricotta dumplings called ‘priest-throttlers’.
In the case of this dish the Imam was so taken with how delicious the aubergine tasted he swooned, presumably after eating rather too many of them.
Cut off both ends of the aubergines. Forget about all this salting nonsense: if the aubergines are old and bitter, no amount of salting is going to change them for the better. Peel off 1-cm / ½-inch wide strips lengthwise to produce a striped effect. Cut down through one side the length of each aubergine, being careful not to cut all the way through.
Fry the onions and garlic gently in
Put the remaining oil in another pan and fry the aubergines over a moderate heat to seal them, turning to brown lightly all over. Remove and drain.
© 1998 Alastair Little. All rights reserved.